I’m a big fan of veggies (so long as they’re cooked), so I try to include at least one side of veggies every meal. It doesn’t always happen, especially when I am feeling sick or need a quick meal, but I eat them as often as I can.
Since I don’t enjoy leafy greens unless they’re mixed in with something, I usually end up eating a root veggie or green beans and squash and such. So I don’t get bored, I’ve come up with some interesting ways to cook my veggies over the years. I thought I would share some of my favorite versions of my favorite veggies so ya’ll can maybe try something new. They’re all easy and have quick prep times, but some require long roasting times. If you’re short on time, boiling is much faster but you lose a lot of the nutrients to the water.
As a reminder, I cook using the tried and true method my grandmother taught me as I watched her in the kitchen as a child: the ever-so-precise eyeball method. So a lot of what I write below is in pinches and spoonfuls and the like. Cooking like this just takes a little practice. If you’re not used to it, just put in a little less than what you think you need, taste, and adjust to your preference. Also, when cooking with olive oil, less is more. You don’t want to end up with oily veggies, so only use enough to barely coat the veggies/bottom of the skillet.
Cut the ends off 3 zucchini and quarter lengthwise. Then, cut into chunks. Sauté the zucchini chunks with olive oil, garlic (about a spoonful of minced garlic, or one clove), a three-finger pinch of red pepper flakes,* salt, and pepper until they reach your desired tenderness. Serve immediately.
*I use coarse ground red pepper flakes from an Asian market. Cayenne would work too, I think, but you would need to use less.
Boil carrots until they reach your desired tenderness. Drain and return to pan, but don’t return the pan to the stove. Drizzle honey and ground nutmeg over cooked carrots and stir. Remember that the heated honey will be runny, so add less than you think you will need to coat the carrots. Serve immediately.
Herb Roasted Carrots
Preheat oven to 350. Toss baby carrots with olive oil, equal parts ground sage and thyme, dried rosemary, salt and pepper. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until carrots reach desired tenderness.
Preheat oven to 350. Peel and chop some parsnips. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake 30-45 minutes, until parsnips reach desired tenderness. After removing from the roasting pan, drizzle with honey if desired. Serve immediately.
Roasted Green Beans
Preheat oven to 350. Toss green beans with olive oil and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle or sage, rosemary, and thyme. Bake 20-30 minutes, until green beans reach desired tenderness. Serve immediately.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 350. Peel and chop a butternut squash and toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until squash reaches desired tenderness. Serve immediately.
Corn and Jicama Slaw
Cut about 1/3 medium jicama into small slivers and set aside. Dice 1 medium onion and boil with corn until both are done with salt, pepper, paprika, parsley, and cayenne to taste. Remove from heat and add raw jicama. Serve immediately.
Sweet Potato Hash
Dice sweet potatoes into small chunks that are a bit bigger than your thumbnail (say, about 3/4″). Add to a pot with diced onions, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper and cook on medium heat until potatoes reach desired tenderness. This should not take long, maybe about 7-10 minutes if your potato chunks are small enough.
Preheat oven to 350. Chop 1 head of cauliflower into florets. Alternatively, you can use 1 bag of frozen cauliflower florets. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until cauliflower starts to brown.